Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/299

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261
NEW YORK AQUARIUM

those giraffes and elephants as his portion and walk out of this place next Saturday night, leaving the other in full possession of all the Aquarium property."

"All right," he calmly answered, and led the way into the private office. There he drew up a brief statement embodying my proposition. We both signed it, and then I reached into my pocket and drew forth an old-fashioned copper cent.

"Heads I win, tails you win," said the German, as I poised the coin on the nail of my thumb. As I nodded assent to this I realized that not only my fortune, but the dearest dreams of my life depended upon the fall of that copper. More to me than this, however, was the thought that my wife had become intensely interested and strongly attached to this undertaking—so much so that it was her personal pride and joy. Still another consideration which flashed through my mind at that instant was the realization that if I lost it would mean months and years of the same sort of homeless wandering life that I had lived while building up the fortune invested in the Aquarium. These thoughts and many others flashed through my mind in less time than it takes to tell them. After scarcely a moment's